Thursday, October 30: Oak + Char (217 W. Huron St., River North, 312-643-2427) opens tonight—though you may not be able to wash down your steak schnitzel with a shareable hot toddy just yet. The place still doesn’t have a liquor license, but they’ll start serving at dinnertime regardless.

Thursday, October 30: A love affair with a Tijuana taco truck begat the Chicago location of Kokopelli (1324 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wicker Park, 773-698-7670), the first outpost of the fish-heavy taqueria on this side of the border.

Tuesday, November 4: 2014’s Burger Bonanza continues with the opening of Shake Shack’s first Chicago location (66 E. Ohio St., River North). We’re plenty pumped about the NYC-based chain’s freshly ground burgers and griddled Chicago dogs, of course. But we’re really, really excited to try the spot’s three exclusive concrete (a mixed frozen custard treat) flavors: Shack Attack (chocolate custard with fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, and Vosges black salt caramel chocolate topped with chocolate sprinkles), Da S’mores (vanilla and chocolate custard mixed with a slice of s’mores pie from the beloved Bang Bang Pie Shop), and the Salted Carame’L’ (vanilla custard with banana and a salted caramel old-fashioned doughnut from Glazed & Infused). We’ll see you in line.


An area man (*cough* gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner) was spotted ordering ketchup on a hot dog at Portillo’s in Vernon Hills on Tuesday and everyone lost their minds about it for some reason. Also, a visitor to the area (*ahem* Vice President Joe Biden) ordered a lot of fried chicken from Celeste (111 W. Hubbard St., River North, 312-828-9000) before flying out of O’Hare.

Starting Monday, Cocello (354 W. Hubbard St., River North, 312-888-9195) will add weekday lunch to the line-up, because a good plate of cacio e pepe cannot be restricted to just the dinner hour.

Lula Cafe (2537 N. Kedzie Ave., Logan Square, 773-489-9554) has its Halloween costume all picked out for what may be the last time. The annual tradition of dressing up the restaurant for the night will end with a quinceañera party Friday night to celebrate the restaurant’s fifteenth year, complete with chocolate fountains and a mariachi band.